Winter Carnival in Harvard Square

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - Friday, March 30, 2018 all-day

The Harvard Square Business Association welcomes you to attend Winter Carnival 2018!  The temperatures may be dropping but we are gearing up for some of the most highly anticipated events on the year, including the Taste of Chocolate Festival, “Some Like it Hot” Chili Cook-off and Chinese New Year.  In addition to these signature events, there are restaurants, stores and cultural institutions featuring promotions, live music, theatre and more events during this celebration of winter. There’s always something happening on our cobblestone streets.


15th Annual BCMFest – Boston Celtic Music Fest at Passim
January 18th – 21st
Celebrating its 15th anniversary, BCMFest (Boston Celtic Music Festival), the annual showcase for Celtic music and dance in Greater Boston, returns to Harvard Square January 18-21, 2018. This year, the all-ages festival will expand to four days and add programming at The Sinclair, one of Cambridge’s most popular nightspots. Tickets are currently on sale.
Passim, 47 Palmer Street,, (617) 492-5300
El Jefe’s Taqueria
Until January 20th
El Jefe’s is offering double points for all Rewards Members until January 20. 
El Jefe’s Taqueria, 83 Mount Auburn Street,, (617) 945-1986
History of Booze in Harvard Square - Cocktails and Historical Tour at Grendel’s Den Restaurant & Bar
January 21st
Grendel's Den Restaurant & Bar teams up with Daniel Berger Jones, of Cambridge Historical Tours and Sh*tfaced Shakespeare, for an evening of historic drinking! Booze has been a source of nutrition, money, power, as well as collegiate humor, violent acts, and once or twice, it may have helped a romance blossom. Our culture has always revolved around drinking. Men, women, and children of Cambridge started the settlement on cider and ale, moved to rum and whisky for the Revolution, and guzzled champagne in the Gilded Ages of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Ribald toasts, raucous rebellion, and pleasant inns have dotted Harvard Square throughout history. Whether drinking Rattle-Skull, Stonewall, Bogus, Blackstrap, Bombo, Mimbo, Whistle Belly, Syllabub, Sling, Toddy, or Flip, history was made around colonial drinking holes. On a 45-minute walk around Harvard Square, we'll learn more about how booze helped form our nation's culture. End at Grendel's Den, prepared to warm up over the fire and a mug of Flip.
In the cozy, brick-walled Den, Joshua Spencer Seiler, bar manager at Grendel's, will mix up and teach the class about the drinks that fired up the revolutionary spirits of Colonial Americans, featuring some of Massachusets best distilleries and breweries.  Check in at 4 pm at Grendel's for the 45 minute tour, then the cocktail class will run until 6 pm. Must be 21 and up to participate.
Grendel’s Den Restaurant & Bar, 89 Wintrop Street,, (617) 491-1160
Harvard University Common Spaces’ Plaza Winterfest
January 22nd – March 9th

Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Event
January 25th
honoree to be announced
Every year, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals bestows the Man of the Year (MOY) and Woman of the Year (WOY) awards to performers who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment. The Woman of the Year award dates back to 1951 with the first honoree Gertrude Lawrence. Since then, recipients have included the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock and Anne Hathaway.
Hasty Pudding Theatricals, 12 Holyoke Street,, (617) 495-5205

The Regattabar’s 33rd Birthday
January 25th – 27th
Celebrate the Regattbar’s 33rd Birthday with us! Our birthday weekend will be filled with performances from:
Igor Butman Quintet – Jan 25 – 7:30pm
Amy Black Band – Jan 27 – 7:30pm
Thank you all for your years of support!
The Regattabar, 1 Bennet Street (in the Charles Hotel),, (617) 661-5000
10th Annual Taste of Chocolate Festival
January 26th – 28th
Warm, dark, sweet and decadent!  Harvard Square’s finest restaurants and cafes will embark on a three day chocolate extravaganza!  Our restaurants will feature chocolate appetizers, entrees, desserts, cocktails, cordials and nightcaps while Harvard Square retailers will dazzle you with scrumptious chocolate specials and deals.  For you brave and hardy chocolate lovers, our famous tasty sampling of chocolate goodies from Harvard Square’s finest purveyors will be presented on Saturday, January 27th from 1pm – 2pm on Brattle Plaza (in front of Crema Café – 27 Brattle Street) for all to enjoy.  Entertainment, chocolate and more!
Harvard Square Chocolate Tasting Event
January 27th
Brattle Plaza (in front of Crema Cafe, 27 Brattle Street) will play host to an array of chocolate samples from restaurants and shops from across Harvard Square.  Make sure to come early!  This free event is extremely popular and attracts hundreds of sweet tooths!  Please check back for more information.
Hasty Pudding Man of the Year Event
February 2nd
honoree to announced
Every year, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals bestows the Man of the Year (MOY) and Woman of the Year (WOY) awards on performers who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment. The Man of the Year began in 1967 with Bob Hope and the subsequent recipients’ list reads like a who’s who of Hollywood’s leading men:  Sean Connery, Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro, Robert Downey Jr., Justin Timberlake and James Franco, to name a few.
Hasty Pudding Theatricals, 12 Holyoke Street,, (617) 495-5205
10th Annual “Some Like it Hot” Chili Cook-off
February 3rd
The Harvard Square Business Association welcomes everyone to our free “Some Like it Hot” Chili Cook-off on Saturday, February 3rd from 1pm – 2:30pm.  Snow, rain or shine, Harvard Square’s finest chefs are cooking a batch of their favorite chili for all to sample.  The cook-off will take place on Brattle Plaza (in front of Crema Café at 27 Brattle Street) and is a fitting and spicy prelude to the Super Bowl!  You get to vote for your favorite!  Check back for more information.
Super Bowl Sunday
February 4th
More information coming soon.


Richard III by Actors’ Shakespeare Project 
February 7 – March 11, 2018
Richard III
Written by William Shakespeare | Directed by Robert Walsh
Swedenborg Chapel | 50 Quincy Street | Harvard Square | Cambridge
Tickets on sale Now! | Save with a subscription today!
Check out our Student Matinees!
The Tragedy of Richard III is the story of a scoundrel’s Machiavellian overthrow of government, filled with deceit, lies, treachery and murder. Richard III is Shakespeare’s most charismatic villain, delighting in every moment of his ruthless homicidal path to absolute power. This masterpiece will dare our audience to like and question why we find Richard III so attractive.
Actors' Shakesspeare Project, 191 Highland Avenue,, (617) 776- 2200
Lovin’ the Square:  Valentine’s Events
February 10th – 14th
This year’s Valentine’s events will feature fabulous food and drinks from Harvard Square’s restaurants, romantic and fun deals from our retailers and a variety of intimate, cozy and entertaining things to do from our cultural icons.  More information coming soon.
Odds Bodkin - The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast at Grendel’s Den Restaurant & Bar
February 11th
Meet Odysseus of Ithaca inside the Trojan Horse, about to bring down Troy after ten years of siege. He longs for his wife and son. Little does he know he’s about to embark on the epic adventure that bears his name. There is death on the beach at Ismaros followed by drugged Lotus Eaters on a strange island, but nothing prepares him for the horrors inside the Cave of the Cyclops. Trapped with his men who are being devoured two by two, Odysseus must use his legendary wits to escape the beast Polyphemus without killing him.
Experience Odds Bodkin’s renowned epic telling of Homer’s The Odyssey as the master storyteller accompanies himself on thunderous 12-string guitar while enacting vivid characters. A feast for the Mind’s Eye.  Odds includes an introduction to the tale on Celtic harp. Tickets are for reserved premium table-seating at 5 PM for a 5:30 PM performance. Dinner menu themed around the performance will be available for purchase, as well as Grendel's Den regular offerings (visit for menu). Program length is approximately 90 minutes.
Grendel’s Den Restaurant & Bar, 89 Wintrop Street,, (617) 491-1160
The Twenty-Third Annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival at The Brattle Theatre
February 16th  – February 25th
Three Fun Programs! A school vacation treat for kids and fun-loving adults alike, the Brattle’s BUGS BUNNY FILM FESTIVAL has been delighting audiences for over twenty years! As usual our first program is the ALL BUGS REVUE, starring everyone’s favorite wascally wabbit! The second program DAFFY DUCK AND FRIENDS features Bugs’ frequently frustrated second-fiddle, Daffy Duck, alongside the rest of the Looney Tunes. We round out the second weekend of our BUGS BUNNY FILM FESTIVAL with special matinees of a LOONEY TUNES REVUE, featuring a completely different program and a few surprises!
The Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street,, (617) 876-6837
Microbial Life: A Universe at the Edge of Sight at the Harvard Museum of Natural History
Opens February 17th
Everything from our food, to the air we breathe, to the forest ecosystem, is based on the activity of microbes. These astonishing and diverse lifeforms that live inside and all around us are so small they cannot be seen by the human eye, until now. Microbial Life: A Universe at the Edge of Sight is a unique exhibition at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, providing a multisensory opportunity to experience the wonders of microbial activity and the surprisingly stunning beauty of bacterial forms. From a full-scale model kitchen to captivating models from the Harvard Medical School, visitors can delve into the fascinating, invisible realm of microbes, Earth’s first inhabitants.
Roberto Kolter of the Harvard Medical School will present the exhibition opening lecture, free and open to the public, on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. in the museum’s Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge.
Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street,, (617) 495-3045
Stolen Hearts at Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre
February 23rd - March 18th
Even if you don't consider yourself a ballet lover, consider this: In 2017, the José Mateo Ballet was named Boston's Best Date Night by The Improper Bostonian. If you take someone special there, you'll see why once you're immersed in The Sanctuary Theatre's intimate, cabaret-style surroundings that put you right at the edge of the dance floor. And when the show begins -- Stolen Hearts, a romantic collection of three original works by acclaimed artistic director José Mateo -- you just might find yourself realizing that you're more of a ballet fan than you first thought.
The Program:
Time Beyond Time (2005), Messiaen, Quintet for the End of Time
Released (2004), Busconi, Concerto for Keyboard & Strings in D minor
Affairs (2017), Mosetich, Affairs of the Heart
Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 4pm; Tickets: $45
Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, 400 Harvard Street,, (617) 354-7467
Oscar Sunday
March 4th
Harvard Square restaurants will be hosting viewing parties but if you prefer to host your own, our restaurants and stores have all the things you need to make your party a hit!  More information coming soon.
Chinese New Year
March 11th
2018:  Year of the Dog
Come celebrate Chinese New Year in Harvard Square.  2018 is the year of the dog and the 63rd anniversary of the Hong Kong Restaurant.  Join us for a grand Chinese New Year procession through the cobblestoned streets of the Square to a cultural open house at the Hong Kong!  A full schedule of Chinese New Year activities will be announced shortly.
Winter Dine Out Weeks in Harvard Square
March 18th – 23rd; 25th – 30th
Luscious Lunches, Delicious Dinners and Delectable Desserts!  It’s Winter Dine Out Week in Harvard Square!  Our local restaurants add their unique and extraordinary talents to this exciting winter event.  Please call individual restaurants for reservations.  Menus and information subject to change. 

The following businesses are offering special promotions during Winter Carnival.  Please visit  for full information.  

Harvard Square Chocolate Tour
Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 2pm
Book Today! This tour is suitable for all ages. 
Looking to explore many of Harvard Square's chocolate destinations in the company of a friendly, knowledgeable guide? Take a Harvard Square Chocolate Tour with Off The Beaten Path Food Tours. Calling all chocoholics! Join us for a unique and delectable, 90-minute adventure through historical Harvard Square. You'll hear interesting stories about the Square, learn fun facts about chocolate, and sample the best and most interesting chocolaty treats around while learning about the concepts behind them. Each tour includes 4-6 stops with plenty of varied chocolate treats and less than a mile of walking. Participants must sign up in advance via the website at 
Off the Beaten Path Food Tours and Experiences,
Classes and Events at The Cambridge Center for Adult Education
A full roster of Winter Term classes are available by registration throughout January, February, & March. See for upcoming classes in arts, humanities, cooking, business, life skills and more!
Conversations on the Edge - Join Cambridge Center for Adult Education on Thursday, January 18, 6:00 - 7:30 pm for a panel and community discussion on immigration. What do we mean when we say, “America is a nation of immigrants”? Over one million immigrants migrate to the US each year and immigrants comprise over 13% of our population. In this conversation, grassroots organizers and legal experts will explore the issues that affect immigrants in the United States today, the policy that affects immigration reform, border regulation, refugee policy and paths to citizenship, and how local organizations can empower immigrants to participate in their local communities and civic life. Visit for details.
Gonson Lecture Series - Enliven your Wednesday mornings with stimulating presentations at the Cambridge Center.  Lectures will focus on a wide range of topics from sustainable agriculture to socially responsible investing.  Join these presenters to learn how you can make a positive change in the worlds around you. Lectures are held on Wednesdays at 11 am, January 17 - February 28. $5 suggested donation. Visit
Blacksmith House Poetry Series - Founded in 1973, the award-winning Blacksmith House Poetry Series brings established and emerging writers of poetry and fiction to Harvard Square. The series is sponsored by the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and holds readings at the Blacksmith House, site of the village smithy and spreading chestnut tree of Longfellow’s 1839 poem "The Village Blacksmith." Readings are held on Monday evenings at 8 p.m., February 26 - May 7. Visit
Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 42 Brattle Street,, (617) 547-6789
Charles Hotel
Be near all of the excitement in Harvard Square this winter without the travel! Stay at The Charles Hotel with our Give Thanks promotion and receive 20% off our best available rate. For each room booked through this offer we’ll donate $5 to United for Puerto Rico to aid in the hurricane relief efforts. 
Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett Street,, (617) 864-1200
Charles Square Garage
Visit for discounted rates at the Charles Square Garage.
Charles Square Garage, 1 Bennett Street,, (617) 491-0298
Freepoint Hotel and Freepoint Kitchen & Bar
Your complimentary choice of Korean BBQ wings or our favorite Local Cheese/Charcuterie plate with the purchase of two entrees.
Freepoint Hotel Guest rooms
Deluxe king room @ $109
Complimentary WiFi and complimentary shuttle to Harvard Square
Freepoint Hotel, 220 Alewife Brook Parkway, (617) 588-6503
Inner Space Meditation Center and Gallery
Inner Space Meditation Center and Gallery, 1110 Massachusetts Avenue,, (617) 547-1110
20% off Sunday Live Music Brunch if you mention promo code “HSBA.”  Open Sundays 10 am – 2 pm.
Passim, 47 Palmer Street,, (617) 492-7679
ENJOY ALL FULL-PRICED PRODUCTS AT 20% OFF* on THURSDAY, JANUARY 18th!  We recommend advance ordering before January 18th.  Let us help you pick the perfect products that fit your needs or if you already know what you love we can assist with placing your advance orders.  Come in or call us and we will place your advance order to be ready for you on January 18th
Pyara, 1050 Mass. Avenue,, (781) 362-4615  
(617) 491-3434
Harvard Square Business Association
Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA 02138